Coccinellidae, Known in North America as “Ladybugs”, is a family of beetles. In the UK, Ireland, Australia, Pakistan, South Africa, New Zealand, India, Malta, and Canada, they are known as “ladybirds.” They are also referred to as ladyclocks, lady cows, and lady flies. Scientists prefer for them to be called “ladybird beetles or ladybeetles", because they are not birds or bugs, as the common names imply.
Ladybugs live in temperate regions, and enter diapause in the winter, which is when they enter a state of delayed development and dormancy during rough weather conditions. Ladybugs are often found on plants where they can lay eggs and find easy prey. Plants that attract ladybugs are coreopsis, cosmos, dandelions, and scented geraniums.
Form and Function:
Coccinellids usually eat small insects, but will result to eating larvae and eggs when other prey is difficult to find. They are brightly colored to scare off predators. They also secrete a venomous toxin when threatened. They have many predators, including many breeds of birds, dragonflies, wasps, ants, frogs, parasites, fungus, and mites.
The life cycle of a ladybug has four stages. The first three last between 7 and 21 days, depending on the weather, and the adult stage lasts between 3 and 9 months.
Impact on the World/Humanity:
Coccinelidae can cause allergic reactions, such as eye irritation or asthma when they come in contact with humans, but this is rare. They can infest buildings and gardens which is a nuisance to humans. If ladybugs are in grape harvests, they can cause something called “ladybird taint” in wines that are produced from the tainted grapes.
Ladybugs also impact humanity in a way that is unique to most insects. They are a favorite insect of many children, and there is a popular children’s nursery rhime called Ladybird Ladybird:
Ladybird, ladybird, fly away home
Your house is on fire and your children are gone
All except one, and that's Little Anne
For she has crept under the warming pan.
In some parts of Europe, there is a tradition that says a person’s wish is granted if a ladybug lands on them. In Italy, some say that if a ladybug flies into a bedroom, it is good luck. In Central Europe, if a ladybug crawls across a girl’s hand, it is said that she will get married within a year. They are actually called “fortune bugs” in some cultures.
This article was about how in 1995 the Amercan government decided to import over 88,000 ladybugs into the northeastern states of the US. They did this in order to maintain their forests which were being devoured by small insects. The ladybugs ate the smaller pests, which greatly improved the forests.
- Coccinellidae. (2010, December 10). Retrieved from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Coccinellidae#Human_impact
- Ladybug Lady, . (n.d.). Ladybug frequently asked questions. Retrieved from http://www.ladybuglady.com/LadybugsFAQ.htm#21
- Do-good, harmless ladybugs plentiful this year. (2000, November 7). Retrieved from http://www.ladybuglady.com/article.htm